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INSANE

or

Human?

Submitted to: Mr. Freitas


Submitted by: Nicolas Casadiego
Date: February 25, 2016
Class: ENG4UE-01

In William Shakespeares Hamlet we observe the emotionally unstable and


passionate Hamlet become a manipulative, parasitic lifestyle living character. We see
his lack of remorse for the irrelevant murders he commits that achieve nothing and
which feels nothing in response. As well as the manipulation and loss of conscience
of Hamlet towards many loved ones, in order for plans to go his way. At the
beginning of the play Hamlet tells Horatio that he is putting on an act of insanity to
throw off the kingdom about what hes hiding, but as the play progresses Hamlets
insanity becomes a reality. From the first soliloquy to the seventh we see Hamlets
sanity and characters true being deteriorate into a sociopath.
Hamlets need for stimulation and manipulative/conning actions towards
Ophelia are viewed as sociopathic behaviour, and is disturbingly reflected on how
abused verbally, emotionally and physically Ophelia turns out to be near the end of
the play. During the 4th soliloquy, Hamlet expresses his feelings toward suicide and
whether its worth living your life with so many challenges when you could just end it
and go to the supposed Heaven where everything is amazing all the time.
To be, or not to be? That is the question
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep
No moreand by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir totis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep.
To sleep, perchance to dream (III.ii.57-66)

Hamlet ultimately decides suicide is not sufficient enough to satisfy us due to the
unfulfilling feeling that Heaven might not be real, leaving us to choose to put up
with the challenges of life instead of taking the risk of there not being anything after
death. Although the fact that suicide was contemplated, made Hamlet change in a

negative way. Instead, hed rather manipulate those around him not caring about
how they feel or having no remorse or guilt even when theyre completely broken
emotionally. Hamlet manipulates Ophelia by purposely being unclear about his
feelings toward her. We see this during Act 3 Scene 1, right after the 4th soliloquy
when Hamlet runs into Ophelia
has been positioned by the King
Polonius purposely. She runs into
Hamlet and gives him his gifts

Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst


thou be a breeder of sinners? I am
myself indifferent honest, but yet I could
accuse me of such things that it were
better my mother had not borne me.
(III.i.123-126)

who
and

back,

and for exchange Hamlet is enraged by this, Hamlet verbally and physically bullies
Ophelia leaving her traumatized.
You should not have believed me,
for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock
but we shall relish of it. I loved you not.
(III.i..119-121)
Ophelia is confused and emotionally tired out by Hamlet, he told her at he loved her but
then switched up saying that he was just joking and that he did not love her. He ridicules
Ophelia. Hamlet has a vice grip on Ophelia as a whole, which he loosens up to let her
breathe only for a second and then grips on even tighter afterwards, crushing her every
single time. Its astonishing to think how much control one person can have over you,

they have total power over your happiness and sadness, like a switch to cater their
needs.
The relationship we see between Hamlet and Gertrude throughout the play
is uncomforting and eerie. Hamlet loves Gertrude (his mother) during the beginning
of the play but towards the end he starts to become physical with her, showing that
he loves her a little too much. He shows a substantial amount of possession over her
which reflects to being jealous. During Hamlets 1st soliloquy Hamlet is seen hurt by

the fact of his fathers death, but its soon revealed that the true reason for his
depression is because of his Gertrudes disloyal marriage to his uncle, barely in a
month of his actual fathers death.
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor fathers body,
Like Niobe, all tears. Why she, even she
O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason
Would have mourned longer!married with my uncle,
My fathers brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules. Within a month,
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galld eyes,
She married. O most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! (I.ii.147-158)

Hamlet cares for his mother just like all of us do, but the love he has for her, starts
turn from love into an obsession for her. Hamlet wants her to be his, he wants her to
be on his side and we see this in the scene during Hamlets fifth soliloquy right
before he goes into Gertrudes room after she summoned Hamlet there.
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood
And do such bitter business as the bitter day
Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.
O heart, lose not thy nature, let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.
Let me be cruel, not unnatural.
I will speak daggers to her but use none.
(III.ii.353-359)

Hamlet knows in his mind that hurting his mother will do no good towards his true
destiny which is to murder his fathers killer. Though during his conversation with his
mother, he loses insight on what hes doing and get physical with her, telling her
that she is forbidden to be with the king and then proceeds to get physical with her
telling her shes weak for being seduced his uncle, telling her she has to start a pure
life. Hamlet does hint at Gertrude that he wishes that she wasnt his mother which
makes me ponder about why he wishes this weird fantasy, but all I conclude from it
is that it just goes to show the poorly integrated sex life and behaviour controls he

has further proving the sociopathic traits Hamlet develops as the play progresses as
well as every time he holds back from following through a plan. From the moment he
found out about his mothers incestuous marriage Hamlets sanity had already
started to vanish.
From the beginning until the end, Horatio, Hamlets fathers best friend has always
stood by his side, no matter what the cause. Though, towards the end, even Horatio
suspects something is wrong with Hamlet. Horatio knows that Hamlet is just acting

insane but throughout the play, even he becomes uncomfortable with the way
Hamlet acts not only in general but towards him as well. We see how charming
Hamlet is when he wants to be, which usually leads to the demise of other
characters in which Hamlet doesnt recognize the consequences nor does he feel at
fault. We see this loss of insight during the boat ride to England with Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern. Hamlet has them killed after finding a note requesting his death.
He couldve thrown the letter out, he couldve burnt the letter, but he decided to
change it and instead have two innocent messengers killed without remorse, which
is an entitlement to sociopathic behaviour.
An earnest conjuration from the king,
As England was his faithful tributary,
As love between them like the palm might flourish,
As peace should stiff her wheaten garland wear
And stand a comma tween their amities,
And many suchlike ass of great charge,
That, on the view and knowing of these contents,
Without debatement further, more or less,
He should the bearers put to sudden death,
Not shriving time allowed.
(V.ii.41-50)

Hamlets loss of insight starts to not recognize whats appropriate and inappropriate
in certain scenarios. This leads to poor behavioural controls and impulsive nature, he
doesnt necessarily means what he says to the full extent. For example, during a

conversation between Hamlet and Horatio, Hamlet hints at how much he appreciates
and admires Horatios loyalty going a little over the top contemplating and
contributing to how thankful he truly is, which in my opinion isnt his true nature but
because of his struggle with mental health, his impulsiveness and poor behaviour, it
leads him to make his only true friend in the play question their relationship.
No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear?
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
And could of men distinguish, her election
Hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been
As one in suffering all that suffers nothing
A man that Fortunes buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks. And blessed are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled,
That they are not a pipe for Fortunes finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passions slave, and I will wear him
In my hearts core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee (III.ii.54-69)

As Hamlets true being and personality deteriorates further as the play progresses,
the audience gets a full spoonful as to what insanity really is, from abusing his sort of
girlfriend so much that she feels the need to take her own life in order to retain her
own power to constantly guilt tripping his mother for being such a heartless, gross
incestuous woman. But then again, if I were to see my mother marry my fathers
brother, who killed him as well, and then have to watch them fall in love knowingly
that my father barely died a year ago while my friends turn on me, I think Id go
insane too. Id like to think that anyone would go insane, especially when youre not
even allowed to leave the city.
Hamlet only desires one thing at the beginning of the play and thats to
avenge his father. He seeks revenge on Claudius, but as we get further into the
story, Hamlet starts targeting everyone around him especially the weaker minds in

order to take out his anger on them. He looks for the easy way out because hes
desperate for revenge so that his father will be proud of him. The superficial charm
and lack realistic life plans that we see Hamlet go through during this play show the
sociopath within coming out to play. He is able to get people to do what he wants,
but when its time for action Hamlet is nowhere to be seen except for in deep
thought explaining why he wont proceed.like always.and then he will later on
have a temper tantrum as to why he didnt follow through. During the second
soliloquy Hamlet has just talked with the ghost of his father who has demanded he
take revenge for his death on Claudius, his killer which Hamlet swears by.
Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
Ill wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damnd villain!
My tables!Meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
At least Im sure it may be so in Denmark. (writes)
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word. (I.v.98-111)

This soliloquy is then followed up by the third one where Hamlet punishes himself
verbally for the continuous failure to execute his revenge of his dead fathers
murder, further showing the lack of realistic plans. Hamlets mad at the fact that one
speech can overcome a man with so many emotions but that Hamlet with so much
to be emotional about, does not shed one tear, the lack of empathy in his soul which
only worsens as he grows older.
Yet I, A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothingno, not for a king,
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain? Breaks my pate across?

Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?


Tweaks me by the nose? Gives me the lie i' th' throat
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this? Ha!
'Swounds, I should take it, for it cannot be
But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slaves offal (II.ii524-541)

Claudius prays as Hamlet comes up ready to kill him, the perfect opportunity, the
perfect moment, no one would see, no one would know.but like always, he finds an
excuse on why not to go through with it. During the fourth soliloquy, we see Hamlet
complain about how this opportunity is not perfect because Claudius will end up
going to heaven if he kills him during prayer. Soliloquy seven is where Hamlets selfpunishment and lack of being able to go through with plans are truly shown through
the rage and passion in his words.
I do not know
Why yet I live to say This things to do,
Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
To do t. Examples gross as earth exhort me.
Witness this army of such mass and charge
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puffed
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honors at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father killed, a mother stained,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleepwhile, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That for a fantasy and trick of fame
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? Oh, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth! (IV.iv.43-66)

Hamlet is enraged by the fact that men will go to war and kill each other for such
small gain when he has so much gain and no balls to even confront Claudius about
his fathers death. It goes to finally show the lack of remorse and guilt and poor

behavioral controls along with every single point off of the sociopath checklist
checked off when analyzing Hamlet. Finally, showing as the play progresses Hamlets
insanity becomes a reality. From the first soliloquy to the seventh, we see Hamlets
sanity and characters true being deteriorate into a sociopath.

Work Cited:

Shakespeare, William, and David M. Bevington. Hamlet. Toronto: Bantam, 1988. Print.
"Hamlet's Synopsis, Analysis, and SoliloquyAll Seven Soliloquies." HubPages.
HubPages. Web. 25 Feb. 2016.
"How to Spot a Sociopath." Psychology Today. Web. 25 Feb. 2016.
"Profile of the Sociopath." Profile of the Sociopath. Web. 25 Feb. 2016.